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A mother and daughter found dead in a suspected murder-suicide in their Brooklyn apartment have been pictured – as their neighbor revealed the woman appeared agitated less than an hour before residents heard screams.
The bodies of Azalea Rivas, 37, her 14-year-old daughter Azaria, and their pet dog were discovered at a residence on Brooklyn’s New York Avenue in Little Haiti on September 25.
Kathleen Kiki, 57, told DailyMail.com that she crossed paths with her neighbor on Friday morning around 6.13am. Both women were walking their dogs.
‘She was not herself,’ Kiki said.
Rivas was wearing AirPods and talking to someone. She appeared ‘very agitated.’
Kiki greeted her and asked if she was okay, to which Rivas replied, ‘Yeah, you know.’
Azalea Rivas, right, and daughter Azaria, behind, were found dead in their Brooklyn apartment on September 25
A neighbor said Rivas ‘was not herself’ and seemed ‘agitated’ hours before screaming and banging were heard
The neighbor added that she often saw the mother and daughter walking together
This was out of character, as Rivas usually seemed ‘happy, joyful and friendly.’ Kiki would often see the mother and daughter walking together to the store.
The pair had talked about getting their dogs together for a doggie playdate.
She thought it was an older person in the building that died but when she found out it was her new neighbor and her daughter she was shocked and saddened.
‘I cried,’ she said. ‘I don’t think she would have taken her life and her daughter’s life.
‘I hope they get whoever did this.’
Kiki’s 19-year-old daughter, Kiera, said she never met the mother or daughter, but was shocked to hear that such a horrific crime had taken place in her neighborhood.
‘It’s also the first time I ever heard about a murder taking place since we’ve lived here,’ said Kiera, who moved to the block with her mother three years ago from Harlem.
‘It is heartbreaking. You don’t expect to hear stuff like that. And the dog!’
Azaria was stabbed once in the back, but blunt force trauma to the head was believed to have killed her.
She was found with a bag over her head, likely to contain blood spatter, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny.
Rivas died of a puncture to her lung, but she also had knife wounds on her neck and wrists that appeared self-inflicted.
The dog, named Biscuit, also had a bag over its head.
The 37-year-old died of a punctured lung but also had wounds on her neck and wrists that appeared self-inflicted
Azaria was stabbed once in the back, but she was believed to have died from blunt force trauma to the head
Police were unable to confirm if the deaths were caused by homicide or murder-suicide
‘You see a mother and her daughter, there’s always drama between mothers and daughters. I never saw anything that was concerning,’ said neighbor Steve Schor.
The 38-year-old and his wife have occupied the apartment directly below the site of the grisly murder since June. They were the first residents to move into the building.
On Friday morning around 7.22am, Schor and his wife awoke to loud banging and screaming.
He said his dog Lucky started barking loudly. Concerned, the neighbor phoned 911 and told operators it sounded like someone was ‘getting killed’ upstairs.
‘This was not a typical noise,’ he said. ‘We heard the whole thing go down – it was loud and there was banging and screaming – until there wasn’t.
‘What hit me really hard was that the dog was suffocated. It’s very hard to shake that.’
Officers from the 67th precinct arrived and knocked on the door of Rivas’s apartment, but no one responded.
Schor overheard one of the officers asking a supervisor if he should stay or leave. He said the officer left the scene a few minutes later.
All was quiet over the weekend, but on Monday around 2.30pm, a neighbor on the upper floor called the police about a foul odor in the building.
Following the call, Schor said a swarm of police, lieutenants and detectives were there ‘all day and night.’
The police were there by the time the a man said to be Rivas’s ex-boyfriend arrived and broke into the apartment, only to find the bodies. He was screaming before he collapsed and was taken to a hospital.
The bodies were wheeled out on stretchers around 10pm. Schor and other horrified residents watched as they were carried through the lobby.
Rivas’s ex-boyfriend had been trying to contact the pair since Friday, he said, and they weren’t answering.
‘So this obviously took place on Friday when we had called 911, and nothing was done until yesterday,’ Schor said. So that’s two days that they were just sitting up there with no notice or anything.’
Schor’s upstairs neighbors told him that they started to smell the decomposing bodies.
‘When the police left (on Friday), I was like, they’re leaving, and they’re not doing anything about it. So it was concerning, but what can I do? I’m just a regular guy,’ he said.
‘I bet you if this was the Upper East Side, they would have broken the door down. I used to live on the Upper East Side, and if something like this happened they’d be there five minutes, not an hour later.’
Schor claimed to have overheard some details about the crime while detectives swarmed the building.
He said: ‘I remember the cops saying yesterday there was blood everywhere. And they said that it seemed like that they were fighting on the floor.’
Another neighbor said he’d called 911 Friday morning after he heard shouting and banging coming from the apartment
Police knocked on the door of Rivas’s unit, but no one answered. On Monday, a different resident called to complain of the stench of rotting flesh
The bodies were removed around 10pm, with residents watching as they were carried through the lobby
Rivas’s uncle posted a message to social media reading: ‘Mental health officials, NYC child protective services and NYPD failed them’
The 38-year-old, who already suffers from PTSD, said he has ongoing safety concerns.
‘There’s only one door with a piece of glass protecting us from the outside world. Whether it was a murder suicide or a murder, it doesn’t matter. Make us feel safe in our apartment,’ he said.
He added that the security camera outside the front door of the building was ‘basically our only form of security.’
When asked if the building had informed tenants about the gruesome crime, Schor said the property manager called and assured him that he would stop by, but never did.
‘I think the city is responsible for ensuring that they take care of us, especially since they are the ones who left and didn’t do anything,’ he said.
Schor said he and his wife moved to a house in Pennsylvania during the pandemic, but she worried about being in the middle of the woods and getting killed by an ax murder.
‘So we moved here and then this happened. So I prefer the bears.’
On whether he planned to stay in the building in Little Haiti, Schor said that was up in the air. He planned on speaking with the landlord, as ‘we pay a lot of money to live here.
‘I’m going to be thinking about that every single day that I’m here,’ he said. ‘Replaying the noises over and over. Now that I know what happened, the visuals are coming of the anticipation of what it would have been like, and that’s terrible.’
An NYPD spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the investigation is ongoing. The department could not confirm if it was a murder-suicide or a homicide.
One day after her death, Azalea’s uncle posted on Facebook: ‘Many stories are going to come out but the one true story to tell is that Azalea loved her baby!
‘Mental health officials, NYC child protective services and NYPD failed them.’
No arrests have been made.